And at that phrase I tried really hard not to outwardly flinch. It was my first green market showing, it was the end of the day, I was exhausted, and I had sold out of all but 2 of my strawberry jam. I was feeling pretty good about myself…. And then THAT sentence started coming out of someone strangers mouth. I wanted to cry. I’m glad I didn’t. What she ended that sentence with became a major inspiration and a HUGE success. I don’t mean a few people were like, ‘wow, that’s good’. I mean, I sell out of this jam every time I make it! The stranger I had just met told me stories of the places she had been, and food she had eaten, on a recent trip to Europe. She told me that the one food that really stuck out in her mind was a Strawberry Balsamic jam she had tasted, that it just made the strawberry flavor just POP in her mouth. Boy was she right! Just a little splash of balsamic vinegar, and the strawberry jam all of a sudden has this zing to it! It took a little research and some experimenting in the kitchen, but I finally reached a recipe worth sharing, and because its too good to keep to myself, I present to you…
Mom And Me’s Strawberry Balsamic Jam
5 containers of really ripe strawberries, cored and cut in half (makes about 12 cups of chunks)
7 tablespoons of low sugar pectin (I always use low sugar, even if the recipe isn’t. Makes the set so much nicer)
Splash of lemon juice (probably about 1-2 tablespoons)
8 cups of sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Makes about 16 half-pint jelly jars
Using a potato masher, mash the strawberries until they are a desired consistency. I prefer mine really small and liquidy. In a non-reactive 8 quart pot (or bigger, once you add the sugar this really puffs up) combine the strawberries, lemon juice, and vanilla together. Add the pectin all at once, stirring well to avoid clumping. Slowly bring to a rolling boil. Add the sugar all at once while vigorously stirring. Bring back to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute. Stir very vigorously. After a minute remove from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Pour into boiled, sanitized jars and seal. Place sealed jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, remove and spread jars out on a cloth dish towel to dry/cool.
I ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT STRESS ENOUGH how important it is to keep stirring during this process. I learned this the hard way. Most fruits cook very agreeably. If you’re thirsty and your glass is out of reach, no worries, drop the spoon for 1 second while you crane over to grab it. Strawberries? Don’t you dare!!!! In fact, I recommended stirring your little heart out the whole time. They burn super quickly, and it gives a very unpleasant odor and taste to the jam. Not to mention the damage it does to your pot. Make sure all of your ingredients are pre-measured and waiting in containers next to the stove. Seriously, stir, stir, stir, and then stir some more! Stir faster!